By Ray Pride


Jonathan Saba leads Marketing and Azniv Tashchyan heads up Finance As Saban Bolsters Its Release Slate

LOS ANGELES – July 31, 2014 – Saban Films, an entertainment venture from Haim Saban’s Saban Capital Group, expands their team with the hire of Azniv Taschyan as Vice President of Finance and Jonathan Saba as Vice President of Marketing. After a success launch in Cannes, Saban is quickly expanding the team to support their upcoming slate.

After acquiring Tommy Lee Jones’ THE HOMESMAN at Cannes this year, Saban Films will release the Western drama this fall, in partnership with Roadside Attractions. Saban Films will release 8 to 10 high-quality, feature films per year and distribute in North America via a major studio distribution partner.

Saba will oversee all aspects of theatrical and ancillary marketing for the entire Saban Films slate starting with the November 7 theatrical release of THE HOMESMAN.  Saba will also manage all third party studio, producer and distribution relationships.

At Saban Films, Taschyan will oversee all financial reporting and analysis functions, and she will play a pivotal role in finance related decision making whie working closely with key internal and external partners.

“We are thrilled to be adding two esteemed film veterans to our executive team,” comments Saban’s President Bill Bromiley. “Jonathan brings a wealth of creative experience from his previously held executive positions, while Azniv adds the industry knowledge necessary to run an effective and fiscally reliable distribution program. Both Jonathan and Azniv will advance Saban Films’ overall mission to acquire and release high quality feature films.”

Prior to joining Saban Films, Saba held a wide range of acquisitions and marketing positions at Anchor Bay Films and Image Entertainment. Most recently, Saba helped launch the distribution division of the Criterion Collection, where he oversaw all managerial, administrative and strategic aspects of North American sales and marketing.

Azniv Taschyan began her career at Ernst & Young LLP here in Los Angeles, then moved to Dreamworks LLC where she held the position of Divisional Controller. Most recently, she was the Director of Accounting for Paramount Pictures Corporation. As a Certified Public Accountant, Taschyan has 18 years of finance and accounting experience in both public and private industries, primarily focusing on entertainment industry.

About Saban Films

Saban Films, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group, is a film acquisition and distribution company which acquires high-quality, feature films to distribute in North America.  Focusing on commercial, talent driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production for release across multiple platforms, including a day and date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Saban Films was established by Haim Saban, and is led by Bill Bromiley who serves as president, Shanan Becker, Chief Financial Officer and Ness Saban, Director of Business Development.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon